Whichever side triumphs, the response of disappointed partisans is all too easily predicted.
If my guy loses I will wake up every morning with the name of my enemy on my lips. The man who beat my guy in the election. The man who hijacked my government and stole my country.
My enemy, my president.
If my guy loses I will dedicate my life to opposition of the president and his agenda. I will enthusiastically watch the cable news channel that affirms my positions and at once outrages and consoles me. I will lose old friends and make new ones based on my newfound political anger. I will alienate and embarrass my children. My significant other will stop listening to me. I will cut off cars on the road that display my enemy's bumper sticker. I will read only newspapers that are critical of the president. I will accuse reporters of being "in the tank" for the president. When friends complain about the price of gas I will use the conversation to criticize the president's energy policy. I will dedicate my online presence to demeaning the president. My Twitter avatar will be a warped image of the president with some negative word, maybe "Fraud," written in a red chyron. I will tweet in all caps. My friends will hide me from their Facebook feeds. I will discover the joys of blogging and will troll comments sections. If I disagree politically with any Hollywood actors or musical artists I will refuse to view their work. I will listen to hours of talk radio.
If my guy loses I will claim that the president is going easy on terrorists while at the same time eroding our constitutional rights. I will claim that a skirmish between two countries I have never heard of is a direct result of the president's failed foreign policy. I will claim the president is selling the country to China. I will blame every downward movement in the global market on the president. I will blame inflation on the president's economic policies. I will question the president's commitment to our troops. I will say that his foreign policy is ruining America's stature in the world.
I will protest things I once advocated. I will threaten to move to Canada. I will secretly hope that the unemployment rate goes up.
If my guy loses I will say to anyone who will listen that the president is destroying the Constitution and is the embodiment of the tyranny that our Founding Fathers fought against. I will misquote the Founders in the hope that they would be on my side of an issue. I will call the president an inept stooge of the power elite. I will claim the president stole the election through some sort of voter fraud and is an illegitimate national leader. I will claim that his campaign was nothing but negative personal attacks and lies. I will call it patriotic dissent when any random person denounces the president publicly. I will say that the administration is the most corrupt and least transparent in history, though the examples I will give will not actually reach the standard definition of corruption. I will claim that the president's ego has sabotaged his negotiations with Congress. I will lament the unsustainable levels of government spending. I will tell friends that the president has put the American Dream in jeopardy. I will declare that the president is out to bankrupt our seniors and mortgage our children's future.
I will warn of some vague, shadowy foreign influence in the president's White House. I will claim the president is inexperienced, no matter what his background shows. I will cite examples of the administration's "crony capitalism." I will complain that the president plays too much golf and takes too many vacations, and that he holds too many fundraisers and state dinners while Americans suffer economically. I will watch "documentaries" that are critical of the president. I will criticize the president's health-care policy no matter how much it resembles mine. I will lament the level of defense spending and say that the economy has threatened our national security. I will condemn whatever military action is taken overseas, no matter how similar it is to that of the last president I supported.
I will protest things I once advocated. I will threaten to move to Canada. I will criticize the president for dishonoring the office of the presidency while I question his patriotism, citizenship, and character. I will secretly hope that the unemployment rate goes up. I will wait for a terrorist attack to blame on the president's ineptitude. Whatever the president's response to a national emergency is, it will not be adequate. I will hate the treasury secretary. I will hate the press secretary. In conversation I will portray the vice president as a bumbling idiot court jester or a puppet-master pulling the president's strings. I will condemn the first lady for being a meddling diva angling for future office or a detached, uncaring shrew. I will call the president's children spoiled brats. I will be more susceptible to conspiracy theories that point to some grand, nefarious plan implemented by the tyrannical president. (The CIA and FEMA will be involved in some way.) I will say borderline bigoted things about the president's religion, ethnicity, and background. I will champion the loudest and most vapid members of Congress. I will insist on impeachment.
I will vote in the midterms for people who do not have my best interests at heart. I will vote the party line straight down the ballot without knowing who I am really voting for. I will compare the president to Nixon, the Antichrist, Hitler, and his party's most recent one-term president. I will support a presidential candidate who doesn't share my values but seems more electable.
I will sacrifice my principles in the pursuit of my enemy's defeat. My only agenda will be triumph over the opposition. My only political objective will be the ruin of the other guy. My religion will be hatred of the other party, and my church will be rhetoric. This is America and our only governing philosophy is winning. My only purpose for being will be the destruction of my enemies.
If my guy wins? Well ...